By Mary Perry, Zone Director of Clinical Trials
Temperatures are starting to climb well into the 70s and 80s across the country, which means swimsuit season is fast approaching. No need to panic! Here are 5 simple changes you can make today that will have you summer ready in no time!
- Ditch the quick fixes: Crash diets, whether you choose detoxing, food group elimination, juicing, etc. don’t work. Not only do they make you hungry and fatigued, but you end up losing muscle mass, making it harder to lose weight. If you want to cut back on calories, don’t do it at the expense of protein. Make sure that every meal and snack has adequate protein (meal 20-30 grams, snack 10-15 grams). This will keep hunger in check while ensuring you don’t lose your muscle tone in the meantime. Consider substituting Zone PastaRx Orzo or Fusilli into your diet instead of your usual protein.
- Bump up the fiber: It’s easy to over-consume processed carbohydrates (breads, pastries, cereals, sweets) when they’re in front of you. Instead, replace these foods with those rich in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and beans. This will add volume to your meals, making you feel fuller longer, and you won’t feel the need to go searching for more munchies after a little while. Did you know that most Americans don’t get enough fiber? On average we consume only 15 grams per day when we should be getting around 25-30 grams daily.
- Hydrate: Drinking 16 ounces of water prior to a meal has actually been shown to slim your waistline as it curbs how much food you consume at that meal. Keep a water bottle on your desk, in your bag or even the car as a reminder to drink before you eat. Bonus tip: Sometimes, when you feel hungry, you are actually dehydrated. Try drinking 8 to 10 ounces of water and waiting a few minutes before you reach for a snack. Then, if you find you are truly hungry you can grab some fibrous veggies.
- Log it: There are so many apps for tracking what you eat and some of the features are pretty amazing such as the ability to scan barcodes, synch with your Fitbit, and online communities for support etc. That being said it doesn’t matter whether you use a pen or paper or an app of your choosing. The data is clear that if you log it you’re less likely to overeat and that’s a good thing. Try the Zone Food Journal.
- Burn, baby, burn: Don’t know what BollyX is? Don’t worry, I had to google it myself. Turns out, it is a Bollywood-inspired dance workout. With so many fitness trends, there is something for everyone. But it doesn’t take cutting edge fitness trends to make it work for you. Find an activity you enjoy doing and stick with it. Enlist a friend to hit a class at the gym, find a scenic walk or try something new and different (Bollywood dancing sounds fun!). Consider incorporating both strength training and cardio so you can maintain and build muscle while you torch calories too.
Making these 5 changes can get you ready for swimsuit season, but there is no reason why you can’t keep it up all year, or better yet, for life. Just make sure your changes are simple, sustainable and fun. That’s the formula for sticking with it.